The question posed above is probably the one i've seen most often on b3ta and so, in another moment of helpfulness, i have decided to address it.

Animation tools

There's a massive range of software available to animate in however most users stick to one of these products (prices accurate as of 29/02/04).

Photoshop/imageready CS: £528.99

The undisputed champions of the image editing world, Adobe's products will not be bettered but are expensive and new users usually find them rather confusing. Imageready's optimisation engine is the best available. Tutorial here.

Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004: £269.99

In my opinion this software has the perfect balance between usability and power, it isn't as good for experienced users as imagready but it's half the price. One minor downside is the lack of layer linking. Tutorial here.

Paintshop pro 8/animation shop 3: £74.95

Paintshop pro is rapidly becoming a genuine player in terms of image editing; it's animation tool is rather basic but can produce good results. Its chief selling points are it's price and a fairly active users community, which make it ideal for new users. Tutorial here.

Ulead Gif Animator 5: $49.99

The only completely dedicated animator on my list: Uleads offering ranks somewhere between animation shop and fireworks. Its optimisation engine is better than animation shop but falls somewhat shy of the professional products. Animating in this product seems to me to be pretty much self explanatory.

The GIMP: Free

Don't let the fact that the GIMP is free fool you. It is in fact one of the most powerful image editing tools around. However, it is not without its idiosyncracies and it rewards a fair amount of perseverence to get the most out of it. A major update to the product comes out in the coming months which includes a new, more user-friendly interface. Tutorial here.

Other Tools

Virtual dub

A utlility for converting video files to gifs, more about this later.







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